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from Greek mythology

The Hydra’s heads would only stop multiplying if we burned the stumps before they regrew.
Rick Riordan  --  The Sea of Monsters
  Greek mythology:  a monster with nine heads; when struck off each head was replaced by two new ones

or more generally (as a common noun):

trouble that cannot be overcome by a single effort because of its many aspects or its persistent and pervasive quality
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  • The Hydra’s heads would only stop multiplying if we burned the stumps before they regrew.
    Rick Riordan  --  The Sea of Monsters
  • They were blackened and caved, mouths agape, eyes boiled shut, melted and pooled together in the gutter like some hydra-headed horror.
    Ransom Riggs  --  Hollow City
  • His palm was moist and hot as a hydra’s swamp.
    Gail Carson Levine  --  Ella Enchanted
  • The dogs look up as one, a three-headed hydra.
    Anthony Doerr  --  All the Light We Cannot See

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  • She also kept a fight from breaking out between the children of Mars and the children of Ares over the best way to kill a hydra.
    Rick Riordan  --  The Blood of Olympus
  • He was on a quest with Hercules to kill the monstrous Hydra, an enormous serpent with nine heads.
    Lauren Tarshis  --  I Survived: The Destruction of Pompeii, AD 79
  • Had I as many mouths as Hydra, such an answer would stop them all.
    William Shakespeare  --  Othello, the Moor of Venice
  • Like … the Minotaur and the Hydra?
    Rick Riordan  --  The Battle of the Labyrinth
  • Perhaps you can defeat the Hydra, or steal the apples of Hesperides.
    Rick Riordan  --  The Last Olympian
  • "Well, while you were off trapping vampires, I was uptown fighting off a Hydra demon," Isabelle said.
    Cassandra Clare  --  City of Fallen Angels

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  • In the picture of me and Annabeth fighting the Hydra, it looked like a meteor had made a crater in my head.
    Rick Riordan  --  The Titan’s Curse
  • It is a contention with Ambition, like that of Hercules with the Monster Hydra, which having many heads, for every one that was vanquished, there grew up three.
    Thomas Hobbes  --  Leviathan
  • Remember the Hydra, Max? I almost jumped.
    James Patterson  --  Saving the World and Other Extreme Sports
  • Hydra twinkled, remote and beautiful, from beyond the curving glass.
    Henry H. Neff  --  The Fiend And The Forge
  • Another king! they grow like Hydra’s heads: I am the Douglas, fatal to all those That wear those colours on them.
    William Shakespeare  --  Henry IV, Part 1
  • Before the passage, horrid Hydra stands, And Briareus with all his hundred hands; Gorgons, Geryon with his triple frame; And vain Chimaera vomits empty flame.
    Virgil  --  The Aeneid
  • I sent your grace The parcels and particulars of our grief, The which hath been with scorn shoved from the court, Whereon this Hydra son of war is born; Whose dangerous eyes may well be charm’d asleep With grant of our most just and right desires, And true obedience, of this madness cured, Stoop tamely to the foot of majesty.
    William Shakespeare  --  Henry IV, Part 2
  • He will fulfill his vocation and crush the hydra of revolution, which has become more terrible than ever in the person of this murderer and villain!
    Leo Tolstoy  --  War and Peace
  • The plaque read, HYDRA HEAD #1, WOODSTOCK, N.Y., 1969.
    Rick Riordan  --  The Lightning Thief
  • He held up his hand and the hydra-headed address, with a few parting exclamations, died away.
    F. Scott Fitzgerald  --  Tender is the Night
  • A confusion of helmets, of cries, of sabres, a stormy heaving of the cruppers of horses amid the cannons and the flourish of trumpets, a terrible and disciplined tumult; over all, the cuirasses like the scales on the hydra.
    Victor Hugo  --  Les Miserables
  • They have no friend Iolaus to burn with a hot iron the root of the hydra’s head, but as soon as one head is crushed, two spring up.
    Henry David Thoreau  --  Walden
  • It seemed as if these viscous tentacles grew back like the many heads of Hydra.
    Jules Verne  --  Twenty Thousand Leagues Under the Sea
  • The hydra of the Romancero and some other hybrid forms, the Vedas and the Nibelungen bristle further on.
    Victor Hugo  --  The Hunchback of Notre Dame
  • …article, in which it was maintained that it was quite senseless in our day to raise an outcry that radicalism was threatening to swallow up all conservative elements, and that the government ought to take measures to crush the revolutionary hydra; that, on the contrary, "in our opinion the danger lies not in that fantastic revolutionary hydra, but in the obstinacy of traditionalism clogging progress," etc., etc. He read another article, too, a financial one, which alluded to Bentham…
    Leo Tolstoy  --  Anna Karenina
  • For many-headed is this surrounding Hydra; one head cut off, two more appear—unless the right caustic is applied to the mutilated * Or, as James Joyce has phrased it: "equals of opposites, evolved by a one-same power of nature or of spirit, as the sole condition and means of irs himundher manifestation and polarised for reunion by the symphysis of their antipathies" (Joyce, Finnegans Wake, p.
    Joseph Campbell  --  The Hero With a Thousand Faces
  • Suspended from the ceiling were cages of live animals—a lion, several zebras, a whole pack of hyenas, and even an eight-headed hydra.
    Rick Riordan  --  The Mark of Athena
  • It was a tune in which the worst of men’s natures stalked forth, hydra-headed and deaf, roaring for gold, spitting fire, and shedding blood.
    Zane Grey  --  The Border Legion
  • If each State had an independent court of final jurisdiction over the same cases, arising out of the same laws, it would create a hydra in government.
    Alexander Hamilton, James Madison, & John Jay  --  The Federalist Papers — Modern English Edition 2
  • Thirteen independent courts of final jurisdiction over the same causes, arising upon the same laws, is a hydra in government, from which nothing but contradiction and confusion can proceed.
    Alexander Hamilton, James Madison, & John Jay  --  The Federalist Papers
  • He sensed the growth of a relentless driving passion, and sometimes he feared that, more than the newly acquired zeal and pride in this ranger service, it was the old, terrible inherited killing instinct lifting its hydra-head in new guise.
    Zane Grey  --  The Lone Star Ranger
  • At this moment when our country is being bled white and is making a supreme effort to shake off the encircling hydra of the enemy, you have allowed yourselves to be fooled by a gang of nobodies, you have become a rabble, politically unconscious, surfeited with freedom, hooligans for whom nothing is enough.
    Boris Pasternak  --  Doctor Zhivago
  • Just as he’d hoped, it was a hydra.
    Rick Riordan  --  The Son of Neptune
  • It was possible the Hydra might pass us by.
    Rick Riordan  --  The Sea of Monsters
  • The Hydra was only a few feet away.
    Rick Riordan  --  The Sea of Monsters
  • I’d seen a stuffed Hydra-head trophy at camp before, but that did nothing to prepare me for the real thing.
    Rick Riordan  --  The Sea of Monsters
  • One of the Hydra heads spat an arc of green liquid that shot past my shoulder and splashed against an elm.
    Rick Riordan  --  The Sea of Monsters
  • I tackled him with all my might, knocking him aside just as the Hydra lunged and the tree crashed on top of two of its heads.
    Rick Riordan  --  The Sea of Monsters
  • The Hydra stumbled backward, yanking its heads free then wailing in outrage at the fallen tree.
    Rick Riordan  --  The Sea of Monsters
  • As soon as my glowing blade appeared, the Hydra whipped toward it with all its heads, hissing and baring its teeth.
    Rick Riordan  --  The Sea of Monsters
  • I sliced the Hydra’s head clean off.
    Rick Riordan  --  The Sea of Monsters
  • Now I was looking at an eight-headed Hydra.
    Rick Riordan  --  The Sea of Monsters
  • Tyson charged in, putting himself between the Hydra and Annabeth.
    Rick Riordan  --  The Sea of Monsters
  • But even Tyson couldn’t fend off the Hydra forever.
    Rick Riordan  --  The Sea of Monsters
  • Annabeth shouted, keeping her eyes on the Hydra.
    Rick Riordan  --  The Sea of Monsters
  • I ducked as the Hydra spat acid over my head.
    Rick Riordan  --  The Sea of Monsters
  • I didn’t dare look away from the Hydra, but if that was who I thought it was behind us, I figured we now had enemies on two fronts.
    Rick Riordan  --  The Sea of Monsters
  • I stuffed my few belongings that had survived the Hydra into a sailor’s canvas knapsack and slung it over my shoulder.
    Rick Riordan  --  The Sea of Monsters
  • Now that we were in the Sea of Monsters, the water glittered a more brilliant green, like Hydra acid.
    Rick Riordan  --  The Sea of Monsters
  • The Hydra followed.
    Rick Riordan  --  The Sea of Monsters
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Associated words [difficulty]:   Hydra [7] , Hercules [3] , Achilles [4] , Medusa [4] , Pandora [4] , Cyclops [5] , Oedipus [5] , Midas [6] , Adonis [7] , Narcissus [7] , centaur [2] , Hercules [3] , Medusa [4] , Pandora [4] , Cyclops [5] , Oedipus [5] , Titans [5] , Cassandra [6] , Midas [6] , Nemesis [6] , Pegasus [6] , Adonis [7] , Agamemnon [7] , Hera [7] , Minotaur [7] , Sisyphus [7] , Orpheus [8] , Cerberus [9] , Daedalus [9] , Pan [9]
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